posted in: Arts and Skills, Blogging | 1


I’ve been Nanny Joy for over 21 years now, and have 6 grandchildren, together with 4 step-grandchildren. My eldest grandson has a younger half-brother and half-sister, and my youngest granddaughter has an older half-sister and half-brother – I love them all.

freya with nanny

Most of my grandchildren (one boy and five girls) live too far away for daily or weekly contact, so I visit them as often as I can, which is usually about once every six weeks. I wish I could see them more frequently, but the logistics make it too difficult.

Weekly Nanny

However, my youngest granddaughter, Freya, who was an unplanned but wonderful surprise, lives not too far away. Even before she was born it became apparent that it would be essential for both of her parents to continue to work full-time, so my offer of weekly Nanny care was gratefully accepted. I started to look after her when she was 5 months old. She came to us Mondays and Tuesdays, and most Wednesday mornings, depending on my son’s work shifts. I was 69 years old. When she was a baby it was fairly easy, and as she grew into a toddler it was great fun. My husband, the lovely GM (The Green Man, named thus because of the greenness of most of his clothes) was wonderful logistical support and I really couldn’t have managed it without his help. Freya worships her ‘Grandfer’ and loves to spend time with him.

Determined Lady

Extended Family

She is now a very determined young lady, two and a half years old, with a mind of her own and a very clear idea of when and how to say NO. (Far too frequently, but that’s another issue!) Over the summer months of this year it became apparent to me that I could no longer sustain being a nanny three days a week now I’m 71, so her parents made  alternative arrangements for Wednesdays.

Weekly Routine

Freya arrives with us on Monday morning and stays here overnight, so that her parents get a whole night to themselves. Then I take her back home on Tuesday. I love to make her time here with us as much fun as I can. We often take the bus into town where there are various activities available. Sometimes we walk from home to one of the few play parks close by. If we stay at home we paint, draw, play football indoors or in the garden when dry. We also have a toybox with ever-evolving contents. We read books and now and again we watch CBeebies, mostly the amazing Justin Fletcher (Justin’s House, Mr. Tumble and Gigglebiz).

Next March, after her third birthday, when funding for childcare becomes available to her parents, she will attend nursery. She is already a very bright and hugely confident person and I think the more structured day and the opportunity for more learning (although she already knows all her colours, shapes and various other things) will suit her. GM and I will still be required sometimes to take her to nursery and collect her on the days that her parents have work commitments, so we’ll be able to maintain the beautiful bond that has grown between us over the last couple of years and which I, for one, will remember for the rest of my life, and I hope that she does too.

Joy Shallcross


Joy Shallcross

Now 71 years old but only feeling like half of that, mother of 5 boys, grandmother to 6 grandchildren and 4 step-grandchildren, photographer, gardener, crocheter, and reader. All I ever really wanted to do with my life was to get married and have children – I’ve done it twice. Now I need to think of something else to do for the next 30 years.


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  1. Miranda McDougall

    Joy want a fantastic opportunity for the 3 of you. Making memories that will last forever and having so much patience and wisdom to invest it has been a dream. You have laid down terrific building blocks that she can take with her to school. I enjoyed your story so much.

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